Shifting Signals Zero (2012)

for solo clarinet, four computers, Google Hangouts, and digital media

The concept for Shifting Signals came about when I was in a Google Hangout with two other people who were participating in the Hangout on separate computers in the same room. Google Hangouts determines which computer should occupy the main video screen by whoever has the loudest audio signal. When one person in the Hangout tried to speak, the microphones from both computers in the same room picked up the audio simultaneously and Google Hangouts ended up swapping back and forth between the two video cameras in rapid succession, unsure of which audio signal was the loudest. I wanted to replicate this phenomenon as the basis for a series of musical pieces.

I consider Shifting Signals Zero to be the beginnings of exploration and experimentation of how best to interweave this phenomenon into live performance. I tried to create a musical journey about aural and visual space – the main musical motive is split into three chords, each of which are assigned a particular aural space, and the performer initially plays and moves in parallel to that designated aural space. As the separate spaces come together and more elements get added to the musical picture, the physical and visual space also becomes combined and culminates into a central focus that by the nature of the Google Hangout represents a simultaneous sense of unity and separation.

Shifting Signals Zero was world premiered by the nienteForte ensemble in April of 2012 in New Orleans, LA.

Live Performance:

Backing Track:

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